Let off the hook by prosecutorial discretion: “They even drew up a draft indictment for Clinton”
As I’ve previously noted, Hillary’s current email scandal echoes the ’90’s Project X scandal in which she was also involved in hiding sensitive high level email communications. That’s not the only echo from the past: prosecutors during the Clinton presidency weighed whether or not to charge Hillary with a crime. They even went so far as to draw up an indictment.
While history remembers the 1990s probe led by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr for its pursuit of President Bill Clinton over the possibility he had lied under oath about his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, internal documents from the inquiry show how close prosecutors came to filing charges at that time against Hillary Clinton. They even drew up a draft indictment for Clinton, which has never been made public.
At issue then was legal work Clinton had performed in the 1980s while an attorney at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm on behalf of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which was owned by a business partner of the Clintons who was later convicted of fraud in connection with bad loans made by the thrift. Clinton said that her legal work was minimal and that she was unaware of the wrongdoing at Madison Guaranty.
Prosecutors, according to WaPo, weighed the likelihood of a conviction based on Hillary’s then-status as First Lady.
The released records include a memo, written by Starr’s team, summarizing the evidence against Clinton. The prosecutors noted that she made numerous sworn statements between January 1994 and February 1996 that they thought “reflected and embodied materially inaccurate stories.”
“The question, generally, is not whether the statements are inaccurate, but whether they are willfully so,” the prosecutors continued.
The records show the prosecutors had doubts about whether potential jurors would be swayed by a largely circumstantial case, particularly given Clinton’s stature as first lady.
Prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig laid out the odds for various outcomes in a memo to colleagues. He predicted a 2 percent chance that a judge would toss the case, then continued: “18 percent = Acquittal; 70 percent = Hung Jury; 10 percent = Conviction.”
“Not enough in my view,” he wrote.
In an interview, Rosenzweig said he had reflected on that 18-year-old decision while listening to Comey’s remarks last week. He said Comey’s decision was “very reminiscent” of the challenge that faced the Office of Independent Counsel team.
Comey was, in 1996, deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee, so he was involved with earlier Hillary scandals and well aware of her propensity for claiming she had no “intent” to engage in wrong-doing and for her repeated lies, lack of transparency, and assorted other stone-walling tactics, including hiding potentially incriminating evidence.
Comey’s first brush with them came when Bill Clinton was president. Looking to get back into government after a stint in private practice, Comey signed on as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee. In 1996, after months of work, Comey came to some damning conclusions: Hillary Clinton was personally involved in mishandling documents and had ordered others to block investigators as they pursued their case. Worse, her behavior fit into a pattern of concealment: she and her husband had tried to hide their roles in two other matters under investigation by law enforcement.
Taken together, the interference by White House officials, which included destruction of documents, amounted to “far more than just aggressive lawyering or political naiveté,” Comey and his fellow investigators concluded. It constituted “a highly improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.”
Pretty much what he said this week . . . twenty years later.DONATE
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